Room to Read

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Room to Read
TypeNon-profit organization
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, United States
Key people
  • Geetha Murali (Chief Executive Officer )
  • John Wood (Founder)
  • Erin Ganju (Co-Founder)
  • Dinesh Shrestha (Co-Founder and Director of Field Operations)
Revenue44,679,630 United States dollar (2016) Edit this on Wikidata

Room to Read is a global non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco, California.[1] The organization focuses on working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to improve literacy and gender equality in education.[2]

Room to Read has reached 23 million children and has worked in 20 countries.[3][4]


Room to Read was co-founded and launched by John Wood, Erin Keown Ganju and Dinesh Shrestha in 1999 after Wood visited several local schools in Nepal. He observed the teachers' and students' enthusiasm and lack of resources, which lead him to quit his job and build a global team to create sustainable programs that help solve their education challenges[5][6]

Wood and Shrestha worked with rural communities to build schools called School Room and established libraries called Reading Room. They later expanded beyond libraries, to begin the Girls' Education program in 2000, which focuses on young girls and provides a long-term commitment to their education.[5]

In 2001, Ganju launched Room to Read in Vietnam.[7] Since then, Room to Read's operations have expanded to include 20 countries.


Room to Read's Literacy Program supports literacy development for primary school students. The organization works with local authors and illustrators to create and distribute children's books.[8] It also introduced an online learning platform called Literacy Cloud during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

Through its Girls' Education Program, Room to Read supports girls with resources, mentorship and a life skills curriculum that helps them overcome challenges to education.[1]


Since its inception in 2000, Room to Read has reached 32 million children in underserved communities around the world:[9]

  • 49,000 schools in 29 countries have been benefitted from Room to Read programs.
  • Approximately 34 million children's books have been distributed, including more than 4,777 original and adapted Room to Read book titles
  • 3.5 million books have been checked out.
  • 200,000 teachers and librarians have been trained in literacy and reading best practices
  • More than 2.8 million girls are supported by Room to Read's Girls' Education Program; 95% of girls who remained in the program advanced to the next grade
  • More than 3 million girls have benefitted from the Girl's Education Program since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ a b Westfall, Sandra (December 9, 2019). "Inside Michelle Obama & Julia Roberts' Emotional Day with Vietnamese Girls: 'I Will Never Recover'". People magazine.
  2. ^ a b Newsdesk (July 4, 2020). "Charity releases hundreds of children's books for free online to help parents teach at home".
  3. ^ "Factsheet on Official Website".
  4. ^ Jack, Andrew (14 October 2021). "Pupils' parallel pandemics in India and Tanzania". Financial Times.
  5. ^ a b "John Wood: 'I had to get out of Microsoft and make education for the world's poorest children my job'". Financial Post. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  6. ^ Roger Hearing (2017-03-24). "Hardline Conservatives Threaten To Sink 'Trumpcare'". Business Matters (Podcast). BBC World Service. 26:30 minutes in. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  7. ^ Wood, John (2006). Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 119–125. ISBN 9780061121074.
  8. ^ Staff (June 1, 2019). "Libraries Changing The Margins of The World". BitterSweet Monthly.
  9. ^ Williamson, Lee (16 March 2018). "Room To Read Founder John Wood On How To Turn Social Impact Into A Startup's Competitive Advantage". Generation T.
  10. ^ "Charity Navigator - Rating for Room to Read".
  11. ^ "ALA Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects". Round Tables. 16 July 2010.
  12. ^ "UNESCO International Literacy Prizewinners 2011". UNESCO.
  13. ^ "Ten Innovative NGOs in Education". International Relations Online. American University School of International Service. 12 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Library of Congress Literacy Award Winners Announced". News from the Library of Congress. 30 August 2014.

External links[edit]